Joseph Smith - The Wolf
‘OK, you’re a wolf, it’s winter, you’re hungry and desperate and hunting for food. Now go away and write something.’ You can picture the creative writing class and the half-baked stuff you might get handed in, can’t you? Welcome to The Wolf, a debut novella which is pointless and irritating to the point of fury. Starting off as a kind of pseudo-realism, The Wolf is mildly engaging for a few pages, which is about as long as this idea stands up on the page. Thereafter it’s a mix of unrelenting tedium and unsettlingly amateurish anthropomorphism. After a while things take on a fantasy hue as wolfy encounters a fox and they appear to read each other’s minds (handy, what with the lack of dialogue). Smith is clearly aiming for a modern fable here but falls woefully short, and his attempts at delving into the lupine condition are frankly laughable.